Academic & Student Affairs

Write ability learning outcomes

 Ability learning outcomes describe the skills it is hoped that students will gain and can be divided into:

Subject-specific skills

Cognitive skills

Transferable skills

An example

Subject specific skills: Examples of appropriate verbs might include:

Research

enquire, investigate, research, question, initiate, seek

Application

illustrate, demonstrate, exemplify, apply, employ

Creativity

originate, invent, conceptualise, create, solve, produce

Cognitive skills more easily translate into effective learning outcome statements and, of module, the language of the outcomes should refer to the substantive subject knowledge contained in the ‘Module contents’.

It is important, especially when matching the learning outcome to an appropriate assessment, to select the most suitable verb. Examples of verbs used in outcomes relating to intellectual ability might include:

Replication

state, list, name, record, indicate, recount, define, outline

Interpretation

discuss, clarify, recognise, describe, restate, explain

Analysis

compare, contrast, distinguish, appraise, debate, analyse, examine, categorise

Synthesis

formulate, plan, design, develop, redefine, propose

Evaluation

assess, criticise, evaluate, appraise, judge, discriminate, estimate

Exposition

make distinctions, achieve coherence, conceptualise, display ideas

Transferable skills: Examples of appropriate verbs might include:

Communication

express, précis, articulate, advocate, argue, present, justify, formalise, question, defend, examine, explain, summarise, illustrate

Co-operation

co-operate, interact, establish rapport, collaborate, listen, respond, participate,

Organisation

direct, co-ordinate, arbitrate, guide, initiate, lead, motivate, direct

An example

Here is an example of how (part of) the ‘Module contents’ section of a module in English Language might appear:

  1. The basic principles of semiotic analysis with particular reference to the use of symbols and icons in human communication.
  2.  The basic principles of linguistic analysis with particular reference to sound (phonetics), grammar (syntax) and meaning (semantics).
  3. The phonemic transcription of English.

And the following shows how the substantive content contained under the ‘Module Contents’ heading might be reflected under the ‘Learning Outcomes’ heading of the module specification:

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

Cognitive skills 

Analyse visual and written material using the basic principles of semiotic and linguistic analysis.

Subject specific skills Judge the effectiveness of specific examples of human communication through application of basic semiotic and linguistic principles. 

Encode and decode English words and sentences using simple phonemic transcription.

Transferable skills

Demonstrate competence in group report writing.